At its best, a university is a place where inspiration meets creativity and scholarship meets dreams. It is a place where all the senses and disciplines come together to inspire and educate.
One of the key tools in helping that happen has been, if not missing, at least hard to find at West Virginia University. All that changes at 1 p.m. Tuesday (Aug. 25) as the Art Museum of WVU will be dedicated and its opening will continue to be commemorated with a week of events and activities scheduled for the campus and community.
Designed by Stanley, Beaman and Sears of Atlanta, the building, located next to the Creative Arts Center facing Patteson Drive, has been six years in the planning, giving and building. But the collection it will house is more than 40 years in the making: more than 3,000 works of art in two exhibition galleries totaling 5,400 square feet. Admission is free to the public.
WVU President Gordon Gee said the vision of the Art Museum of WVU was to create a space that fosters creative and critical thought. It is his hope that it will serve as a source of campus and community pride and will inspire all who pass through its halls.
“I am proud that West Virginia University built this museum, a place where our community can unite in love for art,” said Gee. “It is more than repository for beautiful things: it is a laboratory for creativity. It is a window to the world. And it is a gateway to realms unknown.”
The Art Museum of WVU will house a collection that has been assembled through the generosity of gifts and donations from alumni and friends.
One notable collection is the revered work of West Virginia native and WVU alumni Blanche Lazzell, who was born in 1878 in Maidsville and became a pioneering painter and printmaker who played a significant role in shaping abstract art in America. The Art Museum of WVU will feature the largest public collection of her work.
The museum will also showcase a mural from renowned graffiti artists How and Nosm.
Other featured artists include: Pablo Picasso, Roy Lichetenstein, Andy Warhol, Polly Apfelbaum, George Bellows, Thomas Cole, Maurico Lasansky and Grace Martin Taylor.
Art Museum of WVU Director Joyce Ice has worked to bring the vision of the museum to life – and she said the approach in selecting collections was intentional to give students a global perspective of art.
“We are international in scope – it was important to us to give our students and community a world view of art,” Ice said. “This museum will play an important role in weaving together the cultural fabric of the community.”
Housed under the College of Creative Arts, the museum has an educational mission at its core – and that is one of the many reasons Dean Paul Kreider is pleased to see the vision for West Virginia’s first collegiate art museum come to fruition.
“The College of Creative Arts is proud to realize the dream of an Art Museum that began many years ago,” he said. “I appreciate the hard work and diligence that helped to build an art museum to serve the people of this region. We are immensely grateful to our donors and campus administrators who have made this dream come true.”
Above all, WVU administrators hope the museum expands the cultural perspective of students.
“I am so excited that we can offer our students this resource,” said Provost Joyce McConnell. “I cannot wait to see what comes of having this museum open in terms of coloring, shaping and expanding the scale of student life on the West Virginia University campus.”
To see a full list of events for the Art Museum of WVU’s opening week, please visit the schedule here.
CONTACT: Joyce Ice, Art Museum of WVU
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